Allstate Ins. Co. v. Manzo-Pianelli, 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 18082 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2014)

No summary judgment where there is a disputed issue of material fact as to insured’s legal obligation to pay claim.

This action concerned whether an insurer owed coverage to Manzo-Pianelli, who was involved in an automobile accident with the permissive driver of the insured’s vehicle. The insured had an insurance policy with State Farm and an umbrella policy with Allstate. State Farm tendered its policy limits to Manzo-Pianelli, but Allstate denied coverage, arguing that (1) the policy language limited coverage to “damages which an insured person becomes legally obligated to pay” and (2) the insured, who was not named as a defendant, could not be legally obligated to pay damages because the statute of limitations had run. Manzo-Pianelli filed a complaint against her insurer, USAA, for underinsured motorist benefits. USAA filed a third party complaint against Allstate, Manzo-Pianelli and the permissive driver of the insured vehicle. The trial court found that the permissive driver was an omnibus insured and that she was covered under the Allstate policy as a permissive user or, in the alternative, that her actions were covered because her negligence would be imputed to the insured under the vicarious liability and dangerous instrumentality doctrines. This court found that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Manzo-Pianelli as there was a material issue of fact as to whether the insured was, or could ever be, legally obligated to pay the permissive driver’s claim.

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2015